Conservation Project Funding beneficial to the Local Communities

European Outdoor Conservation Association

Relevent Country: Canada

The European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) is currently accepting applications to support and fund a growing number of much needed grassroots conservation, protection and regeneration projects around the world, protecting the wild places and wildlife everyone cares so much about.
EOCA funds projects which benefit biodiversity in a wild landscape. The definition of ‘landscape’ includes marine environments, and a broad range of wild, non-urban spaces. Projects must conserve, protect, enhance, restore, and/or reconnect habitats within a given landscape that are particularly important for the biodiversity there.
The biodiversity focus should also address the importance that EOCA places on the issue of climate change. Projects should ensure that the habitats being conserved are those that sequester carbon, reduce emissions, enable adaptations to climate change, and/or protect against further habitat and biodiversity loss.
It is also very important that the projects are beneficial to the local communities that live in, or near, these habitats. Projects should highlight how they encourage local stewardship of habitats, alleviate poverty, support local ecosystem services, while at the same time, having a link to outdoor enthusiasts who value these precious wild spaces.
The two main areas that must be addressed in your application are:
  • Protect, enhance or restore threatened key species, habitats or broader ecosystems in ‘wild’ areas
  • EOCA defines ‘wild’ areas as non-urban environments and ecosystems occurring in as natural a state as possible, given the area’s location and use. This may include for example moorland, hills, mountains, coasts, rivers, forest, grassland, peatland and ocean areas. ‘Key’ species, habitats or ecosystems are defined here as those which are threatened, those which play a ‘keystone’ function, or those which are indicators of broader ecosystem health. The project must identify and address the key threats to the species, habitats or broader ecosystems, and how it will protect and/or enhance them. Innovative solutions to ‘old’ problems will be especially welcome!
  • Is the species an ‘indicator’ of wider habitat and ecosystem health? i.e. by recovering its populations, will it have a beneficial effect on other species and wildlife communities? Can the species be considered a ‘keystone’ species i.e. one that has a disproportionately large effect on its environment relative to its abundance, and may create conditions for other species to thrive?
  • Consider the needs of the outdoor enthusiast
  • As highlighted above, the project must enhance the experience of outdoor enthusiasts as well as protecting the identified species, habitat or broader ecosystem from any negative impact by their visits. Projects may, for example, enhance a visitor’s experience by protecting a threatened species they might then see, or protect an area by ensuring trails/rock faces/waterways and/or associated information/education keeps visitors from damaging fragile habitats or disturbing vulnerable wildlife.
Funding Information
  • Non-profit organisations can apply to EOCA for grants of up to €60,000 (in June), and up to €30,000 (in December), to implement a conservation project of up to three years (June applications) and up to two years (December applications) in duration in any country around the world except North America (US and Canada – where the Conservation Alliance provides funding for conservation efforts from the North American outdoor industry).
Project Outcomes
Your application should include 3 easily identifiable and measurable outcomes to show how the project will address the issues above. They should consider:
  • Conservation measures addressing specific issues and root causes
  • What are the identified threats to the species/habitat/ecosystem? What are the impacts of these threats? How are these threats going to be eliminated, alleviated or better managed? How will the habitat/ecosystem be protected, enhanced or restored? How will the project deliver the desired outcomes? How will the experience for the local community, the visitors and the habitat be enhanced in the long term?
  • Please note: projects must include practical on-the-ground conservation work, such as tree planting, removal of invasive species, anti-poaching measures, habitat restoration etc.
  • Involvement/engagement of local people
  • In order for a project to be sustainable, it is vital that local people are fully engaged. If local communities, and also communities of interest, are not involved, they may not feel any need or desire to ensure that the good work that has been started continues into the future. Obviously, if specialist work needs to be carried out, relevant experts may need to be brought in, but wherever possible, projects will involve the local community, giving them ownership of the project and its outcomes, and contributing to their livelihoods during and after the project.
  • Please note: EOCA will consider projects which provide social benefits as a result of conservation measures. however, projects whose sole goal is to provide only social benefits will not be eligible; projects must be implementing conservation measures with a link to the outdoor enthusiast.
Education and communication
  • Education and communication should be aimed at both local communities and visitors. Education should include communicating responsible ways of enjoying the project area, suggestions as to how visitors and locals can reduce threats to the species, habitat or ecosystem, and ways in which they can help protect the biodiversity of the project area. How will you reach the potential visitors to the area effectively and communicate with the local community, and how will this process continue once EOCA’s funding for the project has finished?
  • Please note: EOCA will not consider projects that are based on 100% education.
How your project helps mitigate against climate change
  • This may include restoring, conserving and protecting habitats and ecosystems which store and/or capture carbon for example.
Projects must also:
  • Be measurable and time orientated
  • The work must demonstrate clear and measurable impacts over its duration (up to 24 months for December applications and 36 months for June applications). What indicators can be measured to evidence impact? For example, if training is given, how will you measure its success? If anti-poaching measures are used, how will you assess their effectiveness?
  • Some examples of measurable and time orientated outcomes: ‘number‘ trees to be planted by ‘date‘; ‘number‘ meters of trail to be created/restored by ‘date‘; ‘number‘ clean ups/removal of invasive species carried out over ‘number‘ days and covering ‘number‘ hectares and ‘number‘ of ‘locations’; ‘number‘ workshops to be carried out by ‘date‘; at least ‘number‘ volunteers/locals undertaking ‘project goals‘ over ‘number‘ days.
Provide a legacy
  • The beneficial effects of the project should be sustained beyond the duration of the project. What processes will be set up to ensure the work that has been started will continue to be monitored and managed in the long term? How will the project benefit the livelihoods of the local people or the local economy both during and after the project?
Eligibility Criteria
  • Project applications are shortlisted according to their ability to meet EOCA’s criteria for funding. Using this criteria, the shortlist of projects is drawn up at the sole discretion of the General Managers, the Scientific Advisers and EOCA’s Board of Directors. The General Managers will seek further advice from EOCA’s Scientific Advisers if required. Due to the many diverse nationalities making up the whole panel, all applications must please be written in English.
  • The projects to successfully win funding will be chosen from the shortlist via a public vote and/or an EOCA’s members vote (in April for applications received in December and October for applications received in June).
  • The public vote involves some effort on the part of the projects involved, to mobilise supporters and generate votes for their project over a two week period. However, the process also gives projects a very valuable opportunity to raise the profile and awareness of their organisation and its work in an international arena.  The public vote provides the opportunity to reach thousands of people that might not otherwise know about the projects.
Project applications must:
  • protect a threatened species or habitat;
  • have a link to the outdoor enthusiast;
  • involve hands-on practical conservation work.